Beaches off limits

SOME beach areas from south of Pottsville into Byron Shire will be closed to the public for short periods in a bid to bring one of Australia's worst coastal weeds under control.

The beaches will be briefly closed between May 18 and June 26 to allow the National Parks and Wildlife Service to spray infestations of bitou bush from the air.

Byron Shire Council open spaces and recreation manager Nigel Greenup, a former Murwillumbah National Parks and Wildlife Service manager, said aerial spraying would help control bitou bush over a broad area - a job “which would otherwise be extremely difficult”.

“Bitou bush is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity on the NSW North Coast and one of 20 weeds of national significance,” he said.

Bitou bush infestations including Cape Byron State Conservation Area, Broken Head, Brunswick Heads (north) and Billinudgel nature reserves, are to be targeted by the aerial spraying along with parts of other crown lands.

National Parks and Wildlife Service pest management officer Lisa Wellman said temporary beach closures would take place during spraying for public safety.

“Reserves and crown lands will be closed at the commencement of each scheduled spray day until the work is completed,” she said.

“The reserves will be re-opened daily if conditions are not suitable for spraying.”

She said the “successful aerial spraying in Bundjalung National Park” was now into its sixth year.

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